Elijah Young runs the fastest 100 meter sprint in Knoxville.

You might know him best as one of the budding stars on the South-Doyle Cherokees high school football team.

He's got offers from eight Division I schools, including Tennessee, Mississippi State, and South Carolina.

Young owes his drive to his grandmother, Patsy Parker, who took him in when he was a baby.

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"She was just like our mother," Young said.

Young lost his father, Orlando Carter, when he was two months old. Carter was shot and killed. Elijah's mother spent most of his childhood in prison, as well.

He never got to knew his father, a Detroit native who also played football. But he plays to honor him, and the family that raised him.

"He knows his father's looking down on him," Parker said.

Parker, 58, took in Young and his siblings. Her motto - be the best you can be.

"You need to teach those children to go out there and be something," Parker said. "Not only to show you raised them, but to instill in them that they can be somebody and go be the best they can be."

Young's mother has been back in his life - permanently - for three years and counting. The reunion between mother and son has made all the difference in the world to him.

"It's big," Young said. "Back then I didn't smile at all, just a depressed kid. Then she came back and just brought life to all of us. She's a happy person, and strong, mentally strong."

Parker continues to go to every game Young plays and every track meet in which he runs. She's seen every touchdown and every interception and first place finish.

More importantly, she's seen the man he's become, and the man he will be.

"He's been through the struggle," Parker said. "We have been through storms. But he's still gone out and made it for himself."